A new regulation proposed by the EPA called the Utility Toxics Rule has been found by a recent study to be very beneficial. The study conducted by Charles Ciccheti indicated the new regulation could help generate over 139 billion dollars and create about 115,000 jobs. The reason the study is so important is that it demolishes the tired ‘jobs vs. the environment’ chant repeated so often by some industrialists and their lobbyists.
Large corporate interests have tried to scare people for years about environmental regulation eliminating jobs. Jobs vs. the environment is actually just a rhetorical device called a false dilemma, which appears to present only two alternatives, and covers up the fact there may be a larger number of options. In the case of jobs, the economy, and environmental regulation, there is great complexity, so reducing it all down to a scare tactic to persuade people they will lose jobs if we take care of the environment is simply an attempt to manipulate with fear.
Jobs will be created if it is passed, because workers will be required to install the new pollution reduction technology, operate it and provide maintenance. Workers will be required to design, test and improve it. Training will be necessary for the new workers, and documentation of workflows.
The proposed toxics rule mainly targets reductions in air pollution from power plants. It aims to reduce mercury pollution which can cause brain damage, IQ loss, and diminish learning in children. It also will reduce carcinogens in the air, and therefore is likely to decrease cancer cases. A new rule that cuts air pollution from coal power plants, will be better for the health of people, animals and the rivers, streams ponds, and lakes near them.
The value of the predicted health benefits from the new rule has been estimated at $5-13 for each dollar spent. For example, the pollution reductions could prevent 6,000-17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks, 120,000 asthma attacks, and 850,000 missed work days.
Clearly, without a healthy environment there can’t be healthy food production and healthy people. In extreme cases like Fukushima, Chernobyl and Superfund sites, the land and air become so polluted there can’t be any normal industry at all in these places.
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